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tv   Hardball With Chris Matthews  MSNBC  February 3, 2010 5:00pm-6:00pm EST

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exact same thing the democrat are doing. if the shoe fits wear it. andrew young who once took the sheet for being the father of john edwards love child is getting enwith his former boss. he has a book out. colin powell says it is time to drop don't ask, don't tell. he instituted the whole charade. can the combination of obama and powell get it changed? finally, did she or didn't she? sarah palin says she congratulated scott brown. mr. brown says he can't remember that happening. he must haveç forgot. and then he remembered. is he becoming a politician before he is a senator? that is in the "sideshow." we start with the question time in america. david corn and mindy finn are here. the question lady and gentleman is, mindy, i will start with
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you. it is fascinating you in the bloggosphere are calling for a frontline regular back and forth between the president of the united states and his rivals on the other side of the aisle and with his own people. tell me what you want to see. >> i think we see both parties are tired of politics as usual. scott brown's win is a rejection of democratic politicians. washington isn't listening and we are tired of politics as usual. i think what happened friday with the president going to speak to the republican retreat allowing republican members to pose their questions and him to respond and even more importantly that it was televised publicly is something that needs to happen more regularly. >> we carried it. i don't think fox played it in its entirety. we are proud of that. david corn, the president of the united states exposed himself to
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his enemy. the question is would any president agree to a regular format of possible mistakes, exposure, any time you get on television you and i know you can make mistakes. >> yes. well the president doesn't seem to be too scared of going on tv a lot. >> with a teleprompter. >> wait, listen. >> what about a group hostile to him? >> three dozen people on the left and right, bloggers, politicos, techie people, internet advocates formed this group demandquestiontime.com. there is a petition. we saw what happened on friday and realized there was something special and historic. we called on obama and the republican leadership to do this on a regular basis. it may not be what's best for the politicians. it may be what is best for the american public and to have a civil debate people can watch and decide for themselves. >> i think it is a great idea.
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i'm tired of seech party talking only to itself. here is what david axelrod said on monday to politico. the thing that made friday interesting was the spontaneity. that was this past friday. if you slip into a kind of convention then convention alty will overtake the freshness of that. mindy, my fear is either party who is in opposition will have a choreography, a set of questioners, ringers, ask questions that embarrass the president and i it will be aç tricky number inside the beltway games that offend people more. it won't be spontaneous. >> it is certainly possible that could happen but if shenanigans go on the american people will reject that. it will look like more politics as usual, shenanigans and reject who is doing that.
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>> let's remind ourselves of what we saw last friday. it was a moment in america's democracy at its best. >> we've got to close the gap a little bit between the rhetoric and the reality. if you were to listen to the debate and frankly how some of you went after this bill you'd think that this thing was some bolshevik plot. >> there is the president out there freelancing, using language that normally is tricky. making a joke about that. you say something you think it is clever, it is taken out of context. the president admits he is a bolshevik, southbound is saying. >> mindy is right, if anybody tried sleight of hand in this it might backfire.
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obama was at his best. the republicans were at their best in presenting their argument. >> the republicans were caught offguard. no hard question about national security. the questions were about economics. he could handle it. wouldn't it be tougher if it was about security, foreign policy. >> it would be. there should have been questions about foreign policy and security. during political campaigns the candidates have time to make debates. >> well said. >> then when the campaign is over it is over. >> i worked in party politics. aide, top guy with the speaker. my job was try to get the democrats to respond to ronald reagan every week. nobody wanted to do it. they would have prepared speeches. an hour to respond. nobody wanted to use that hour to respond. any time there is a state of the union, your party did it with
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governor mcdonnell. nice speech. it wasn't a response. why don't they use the time to reach the speech and respond to it. governor mcdonnell didn't do that. chris -- >> just a minute. mindy, they hate spontaneity. >> you are right. they do. there are reasons their approval ratings are abysmal. >> why didn't governor mcdonnell respond to theç president? >> you'd have to talk to governor mcdonnell about that. >> he doesn't want to respond. >> who was that guy? bobby jindal with that speech that night had been written in weeks before. >> if you place bobby jindal in a room with the president or the democrats -- >> he would have done well. >> he would have done much better. >> the first thing we ought to do is the state of the union that people have to respond. they can't have a script. they have to watch the speech with the american people, brian
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williams, me or somebody else has to grab them and say what did you make about the president's speech? what did you like, didn't like? force them to response in real time. if they can't don't give them the time. >> i think that is a great idea. absolutely. anything that advances our democracy where people are discussing thesishes in a more substantive basis rather than it only benefiting the politicians is a step forward. >> this puts both parties, the opposition party and the president on a bit of a hot seat. they have to come out and perform very well. they will be judged on the questions asked and answers given. >> you all watch c-span. you get to see question period. gordon brown the current prime minister is down in the well. the other guys are up in the hills looking down. this time the president was at the baltimore on this ground podium looking down at the little people. the republicans at their
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breakfast table with their families. he had an advantage. in the british parliament he is down in the well. >> that is something the british system are more used to. >> they are good at it. >> they are good at it. all we are asking is the minimal step for commitment of regular meetings between the president and the opposition party. >> it is friday night. it is 8:00. what would it look like? >> on msnbc, of course. i think friday -- last friday was a good model. if they want to talk about how the podium is, they do that in presidential debates all the time, the silliness. >> you see the president of either party addressing the congress? >> it doesn't have to be in the body of the congress. it can be in a conference room. these are things that could be talked about. once both sides accept the principle which the white house hasn't done and we are waiting to hear back from the
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leadership -- >> we had mike pence on friday night and i asked him if he would go along and he said he wouldn't have a question period like that. >> he is not the only voice in the republican party. >> i think you deserve credit for pushing this thing. bipartisan. we are going to take a look at the presidentç today. let's watch the president today. >> some of that transparency got lost. i think we paid a price for it. so it is important, i think, to constantly have our cards out on the table. and welcome challenges and welcome questions. if the republicans say they can ensure every american for free which is what was claimed the other day, at no cost, i want to know. i told them, why would i want to get a bunch of lumps on my head doing the hard thing if you've got the easy thing.
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>> there you have it. will we have a question period where the president is forced to answer questions? >> we are pushing for it. so yes. >> demandquestiontime.com. sign the petition. >> it is called demand question time. here is their website. and coming up, the obama administration is being criticized for teaching the christmas day bomber as if he was an ordinary criminal. the administration is pushing back against the gop critiques saying the suspected terrorist would have been less cooperative facing an interrogator in a military uniform. we don't know really. we'll see. it depends on the suspect. you are watching "hardball" only on msnbc.
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supreme court justice clarence thomas says he is glad he sat out the state of the union address and the justices who attend risk becoming part of the conversation. said justice thomasç i don't g because it has become so partisan and it is very uncomfortable for a judge to sit there. there is a lot you don't hear on tv, the cat calls, the bhooping, the under the breath comments. n%
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welcome back to "hardball." republicans have been criticizing the obama administration for being too soft on the christmas day plane bomber, for reading him his miranda rights. now comes word that the terrorist suspect is giving useful information to his interrogators. can republicans go after the president for how he handled the christmas day plane bomber? senator dianne feinstein chairs the committee.
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madam chairman, senator, is the case up in the a[r as to the best way to handle these terror suspects. >> well, in my view, it is not up in the air. i think what we've seen is something very unique which is politicizing it. this is the same way that bush 1, bush 2, clinton handled it. and every single terror suspect was handled this way in the eight years of george bush's administration. a couple were transferred into the military jurisdiction, but they were all initially charged when committing a crime in this country in an article three court essentially. it is just not true that the fbi cannot interrogate. i think the best interrogation that i have seen in the eight years i have been on the intelligence committee and 17 years i've been in the senate is actually performed by the fbi.
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>> we have reasons for interrogating people for criminal reasons. we try to determine their guilt or innocence, try to understand the crime itself. we have intelligence reasons for interrogating people. can they be performed by the same prosecutor, the same interrogator, that function? >> well, they can be trained by people who are trained in this kind of interrogation. the fbi's had a very good record. i mean, an agent, jack klunnan in 1993, the world trade tower bombs, he interrogated the blind shaikh, got convictions and got people to turn on one another. it was a very successful interrogation and it was not done with any enhanced interrogation techniques. so they know how to interrogate. i can tell you without going into detail because i have been briefed that the interrogation
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of abdulmutallab has been handled well, it has been effective, operations have been put in play and it has been a very good experience. additionally, the attorney general today wrote a letter to the minority leader of the senate and i'd really urge everybody to read that letter. it very carefully outlines what his legal practice, what hz past practice what this attorney general and this administration is doing. and i believe they are absolutely correct. secondly, i believe, though, that the administration should have flexibility in this issue and flexibility to determine whether the individual might be transferred toward military jury diction or not. but the point is these are crimes committed in this country and,ç therefore, there are certain legal strictures that do apply. >> okay. senator dianne feinstein, thank
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you, senator. >> thanks, chris. with us is susan collins of maine on homeland security. thanks for joining us. attorney general eric holder wrote in a letter today, since the september 11, 2001, attacks, the practice of the u.s. government followed by prior and current administrations has been to arrest and detain under federal criminal law all terrorist suspects apprehended inside the united states the prior administration's policies expressly endorsing this approach. how can you deny this administration is doing something wrong if it is doing something exactly the way the previous did. >> well, chris, first of all, that would imply that i agree with the previous administration's handling of some of these terrorists. it is ironic to say the least to have the obama administration now saying we're just following what the george bush
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administration did when they have been saying that everything the previous administration has done was in error on most things. but here's my point. i believe that before a decision is made on whether to detain a captured foreign terrorist in a military system or in our civilian courts there should be consultation with the intelligence community. and i know from asking the question of the director of national intelligence, the secretary of homeland security and the director of the national counterterrorism center that they were not consulted before abdulmutallab was told that he didn't have to answer further questions and given a lawyer at our expense. that simply does not make sense given how critical it is that we secure as much information to
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try to prevent future attacks. >> here i have a letter. you've seen it, from the attorney general to you. he says "i made the decision to charge mr. abdulmutallab with federal crimes to seek his detention in connection with those charges with the knowledge of and with no objection from all other relevant departments of the government. he goes on to say he checked with the intelligence community and got no objections about his course of action. you say there was no consultation? >> that is correct. i would draw a distinction that it is far different to inform someone of a decisionç that's already been made versus consulting with them. it is clear that abdulmutallab had a great deal of information. he had just come from yemen. we know that yemen is a hot bed for al qaeda. we know that plots are being hatched against this country. what we had was a very brief
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interrogation followed by five to six weeks during which time al qaeda is not just twidling it thumbs in yemen, it is changing its plots, moving around, swapping out communications equipment. that was valuable lost time and we could have learned information that might have been extremely valuable to helping to thwart future attacks. >> i'm open to your argument. what is the best way to get information when we need it? what would you do with the ft. hood situation where you have an american involved apparently being influenced by a lackey and having communication with a foreign person of the united states. at what point is someone a
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foreign sneags was sir han sir han working for a middle east terrorist group when he killed bobby kennedy. at what point do you deny a person of his rights because you believe they are under the influence of a foreign entity? >> first of all, anyone put in a civilian court has the same rights as an american citizen. that is why the initial threshold decision is so important. it is ironic because major hasan is going to go through the military system, a military court-martial. he's not going to be in the civilian court system because he's a member of the army. it seems to me if that is good enough for major hasan it ought to be good enough for abdulmutallab. >> how do you decide someone is
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an agent of a foreign power or enemy combatant? assassins in this country operating out of loyalty to foreign masters. lee harvey os wald was in love with castro, sir han sir han hated bobby kennedy's policy. where do you draw the line saying that person is an agent and that person is not. how do you know? >> that's why you can't have a unilateral decision made by the department of justice which is what you had in this case. clearly the justice department is a critical player, but so is the director of national sbenls, homeland security, the cia, the discrepancy. so what you do is a consultation with all those parties so you find out what information do they have in intelligence files that might well affect the decision on where the person should be detained and
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questioned and also tried. >> they are very good arguments. thank you for bringing them to us. susan collins of maine. a member of the homeland security committee. i think your arguments are winning a lot of people. eliot spitzer went on the colbert report. he doesn't have to worry about being humiliated. this is fascinating to watch. that is next. you are watching "hardball" only on msnbc. st also dispenses wisdom... to help you stay well. so if you're on medicare part d, schedule a free one-on-one plan review session... with your walgreens pharmacist. they'll review all your medications... no matter where they're from... and help you get the most from your plan. so you can relax and enjoy all your benefits. walgreens. there's a way to stay well.
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back to "hardball." time for the "sideshow." eliot spitzer was on colbert for the first time he was caught with a prostitute and had to resign. here he is. >> i know that guy has to be an honest broker because you've got nothing to lose, right? >> that sums it up. >> yeah. you got no public image to uphold.
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it is better you don't uphold your public image at this point. >> there is a certain virtue to be able to tell the absolute truth and stick it to people without worrying about repercussions. >> right. there's nothing they've got on you. >> not anymore. >> ben bernanke who oversaw the collapse of not just the united states but the entire world financial system and brought our economy to its knees has been reappointed as head of the fed. >> right. >> does this give you hope for being re-elected governor of new york? because may i remind you, he screwed everybody. >> i just became a fan of ben bernanke. >> i love colbert. spitzer is doing it right. he quit. gave up the governorship and showing the humility, well-earned humility this country is willing to accept.
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sarah who? watch senator scott brownç dan away from sarah palin saying he never spoke to her. >> do you think that sarah palin is presidential material? >> well, sure. she has been a mayor and a governor and has a lot of national following. the more people in a presidential race the better. she never contacted us and vice versa. >> really? she has never contacted you? how do you figure this statement from palin's camp. governor palin spoke with a very happy senator-elect brown this evening and congratulated him. hmm. after being called out yesterday the brown camp said palin's election night call slipped his mind. it is interesting we remember forever talking to a hero but find less significant chats slipping from our minds. could he really have had a conversation with the alaska
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governor and forgotten it this you bet you. aig's unit that drove aig in the ground, well, it is bonus time again. how much bonus money is being paid out to current employees. $100 million. going to the guys that got aig in the mess. grab your pitch fork big number. up next former john edwards' aide andrew young is throwing the book at his former boss. he will be here to play "hardball." and choose any car in the aisle. you know how that makes me feel? like dancing? ♪ oh, yeah. go national. go like a pro.
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i'm julia boorstin. stocks looking weak on
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disappointing earns on jobs in the service sector. the dow jones sliding 26 points, the s&p 500 dipping six points the nasdaq up less than one point. private payroll shed 22,000 jobs in january, less than expected and in line with projections. in the service sector grew for the first time since september last month. new orders and business activity on the rise. drug maker pfizer missing expectations and giving a disappointing outlook for the rest of the year. sharing faíls 3.5%. merck falling 2% and toyota clobbered on the recalls and new reports that the 2010 prius may have brake problems as well. toyota shares plunging 6%. that's it from cnbc first in business worldwide. now back to "hardball."
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>> welcome back to "hardball." "sex lies and videotape" last month john edwards admitted he fathered a child by rielle hunter. andrew young has written a tell all book called "the politician." insider of john edwards' pursuit of the presidency. andrew young welcome to "hardball." you are a valache papers kind of guy. you were in the mob and ratting out the mob. how do you feel about john edwards the guy? >> first of all, loyalty runs two ways. with john edwards it only ran one way. i loved john edwards for as long as i possibly could. i gave him more than two years. he promised me he was going to come clean as soon as the election was over and i waited as long as i possibly could to try to get this behind me. >> he promised to come clean
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about his relationship about rielle hunter if he lost, not if he won? >> he promised as soon as the election was over and/or if l z elizabeth died first he was going to come clean. >> if he won would he come clean, did he tell you? >> yes. he told me he was going to come clean about the whole thing. >> one thing that staggers me. he seemed to be under a delusion that he could leverage the fact he was john edwards after he got creamed in iowa and facing the fact he fathered a child and the baby was going to be born. he was still trying to leverage the vice presidency and attorney generalship and get a speaking gig at the convention in primetime. what is it about john edwards that led him to believe he could get something out of nothing? >> chris, you've been at this a lot longer than i have. it is something politicians,
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especially politicians that run for president, feel like they are untouchable. they feel like they can get away with almost anything. it is not just politicians. it is powerful people in los angeles and new york. john edwards felt like he could use the delegates he had retained to use that as influence to getç a v.p. or attorney general spot with obama and with clinton. >> let me ask you about your role when you went on the lam, the high sierra, you and the baby and rielle hunter and your wife went out. who paid the tab? >> fred marin was. the trial lawyer lobby wanted john edwards in the attorney general spot because of tort reform. >> he would be a ringer. >> tort reform was a huge issue. trial lawyers were laying off employees in mass numbers.
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>> they wanted john edwards in there to protect their money. >> desperately. >> what was his feeling they could make as much as they could. >> i never heard him say it that explicitly, but, yes. >> was john edwards worth the money he made as a trial lawyer or was he clever and seducing the rural jurors i read his book. i didn't see any genius. have you figured out why he got to be senator, bankrolled by the trial lawyer bench and almost got to be president. what was his secret? >> first of all, i'm a big fan of you. all of us in north carolina are not holding tea parties and burning crosses. john edwards, they are not a bunch of rural bumpkins. john edwards was very successful and rose to the top because he was very charismatic and a very
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hard worker. within nine years he was three times the viable vp pick, two times a viable presidential pick. >> you are building him up again. >> the truth of what i write in the book is the first several years i worked for him, the first two years was immediately after their son wade had passed. john edwards was a good man. i truly loved him and his family. we got to be close. we vacationed together. we went to final four together. you name it. we were close. somewhere along the lines of when -- after kerry lost, you know, he was no longer serving in the senate. for two or three years he traveled the world, visiting with billionaires in russia, going to anyone with tony blair. everybody treated him like he was the future president waiting. obama and clinton at that point for those years were not seen as viable threats. >> yeah. how long did you work for him
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when he thought you were loyal to him but you weren't?ç how long did you convince him use were a loyalist but had gwynn up on him morally? >> i would like to say i was loyal to him -- >> no. how long did you stay with him after being loyal to him? >> probably a year. >> a year basically an undercover guy working for a guy who thought you were loyal but you weren't? >> i'm not trying to make excuses for anything we did. >> no you. not we. >> i'm including my family. >> you worked for a guy you were pretending to be a loyal aide to john edwards when you really weren't. you were working against him or didn't like the guy anymore. >> i don't know i was working against him. i was not on john edwards' payroll. >> he thought you were an edwards guy? >> definitely. >> how do you feel about being
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basically a rat fink. i can't imagine being in politics working for a guy i had given up on. seems to me you ought to get out. find another job. get out. don't work for somebody you think is a louis. you did for a year. >> let me finish. if you recall, once the lie was told that i was the paternal father the edwards and the campaign went everywhere they could claiming that i was a thief, i was ineffective employee, somebody who did the laundry. >> at that point you had to get out. did you get out at that point? >> no. no, i didn't. i raised millions of dollars for these guys. when this went forward to the end there was no place for me to go to get a job. i have three kids, two with health issues. was it morally right what we did? absolutely not. at the same time i had
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responsibilities. >> i hear you. would we be in trouble now if he had become, let's say would the democratic party been in trouble if he had become the nominee for president or vice president? would this have gotten out and destroyed the party's chances. >> my personal opinion, yes. >> would it be bad for america to have him as vp of the united states? >> absolutely. >> why? >> john edwards had all the attributes you look for in a president except for one. he had the leadership skills. he was incredibly intelligent. elizabeth is incredibly intelligent. when he wasç on. at times he came across as a used car salesman. the one attribute he didn't have was ethics. there was a cold, calculated almost jekyll and hyde personality to him that would be
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unbelievably scary. when i first started in politic$ it used to be you had to be a visited democratic or republican that had worked their way through the ranks and people knew about you. a military leader. a business leader. as it is now if you can do a 30-second sound bite, raise money and have a lobby like the trial lawyers behind you, you can be president of the united states. >> the thing that scared me about him, andrew, he was attractive. i suppose he could win people over in a small room. he is very effective. i get the feeling he never read a book. i don't think he read the newspaper. i think he had a total lack of intellectual interest in the presidency. i don't know why he was pursuing it. did you get a sense he had an intellectual reason to be president? >> i think he was inspired -- his son, you know, this was one of his son's dream for him to run for office.
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you know elizabeth edwards very well. she is one of the smartest people on the planet. going back to law school they had almost a partnership and they practiced. she was the brains. she ran the campaign. she wrote all the papers, the speeches. he was the spokesperson. >> yeah. i always thought she was great and he was a lightweight. no intellectual don't. all sail and no cargo. elizabeth i always liked her. you have a book out called "the politician." what is the real worth in reading this book besides expose? >> a couple of things. it talks about the seduction of politics. how people like myself get roped into believing, you know, just like reggie love and other people, you can take a short track from being just a common
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campaign laborer to working at some of the highest levels in the white house. >> i know. >> but it shows betrayal. john edwards, here is the truth. john edwards was one of my best friends and i took a bullet because i believed in him and he backed over me with a semi truck. >> thanks. >> sorry. >> we've got to go. thanks for joining us on "hardball."ç up next, a strategist to debate don't ask, don't tell. this is a hot one. i think it is moving towards getting rid of this. colin powell thinks don't ask, don't tell is wrong. he wants open service in the military as does the chairman of the joint chiefs who personally endorsed it. this is a big development. this is "hardball" coming up on msnbc. etting five percent cashback bonus on travel. it pays to get more, it pays to discover.
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here's his powerful statement. in the almost 17 years since the legislation was passed, attitudes and circumstances have changed. wow. let's bring in the strategist democratic steve mcmahon and todd harris. people don't change their mind. when he changes his mind, it's a big deal. on top, mike mullin saying that we need to get rid of it. open service. >> it's an absolute game changer because there's a generational split. younger people think that gay and lesbian americans are just like -- they don't have a problem with gay marriage. one of the reasons that republicans are having a problem with young people is they are on the wrong)side of so many socil issues. >> a key question is whether those that volunteer to risk their lives and give their
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career. how does that answer your thoughts? >> it would be answered in a real-time lab experiment if they overturned the ruling. i have to say, it's not great politics for president obama. there are basically three groups that opinions about this. people that are going to hate it, love it, and then people in the middle that think largely that this administration is trying to tackle too much right now. it's jobs and the economy. >> when would be a good time to bring up the don't ask don't
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tell? for 17 years we've been putting it up. >> we haven't been in two wars in 17 years with the unemployment rate where it is today. for most people, they would say this is not the right time. we'll be right back with "hardball." there's a home by the sea powered by the wind on the plains. there's a hospital where technology has a healing touch. there's a factory giving old industries new life. and there's a train that got a whole city moving again. somewhere in america, the toughest questions are answered every day. because somewhere in america, more than sixty thousand people spend every day answering them. siemens. answers. trying to abe good to your heart?. so is campbell's healthy request soup. low in fat and cholesterol, heart healthy levels of sodium, and taste you'll love.
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speaking for myself andh myself only is my personal belief that allowing gays and lesbians to serve openly would be the right thing to do. no matter how i look at this issue, i cannot escape being trouble d by the fact that we have in place a policy which forces young men and women to lie about who they are in order to defend their fellow citizens. your thoughts? you want to change this law. the democratic party. >> it's very powerful. i'm told that the commanding officer of the military were telling president obama it was a matter of time that the policy was going to change any way and i disagree that it's good politics. the people who love it are going to give him a lot of credit.
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aren't they going to be thrilled by the fact that the president is taking up this cause publicly again? >> i'm sure that they will be. but to steve's point, they are largely voting for president obama any way. the issue, i don't think when it comes to independent voters is that this is a gay rights issue, people who are -- >> it's an equality issue. >> my point in bringing this up is that there are a lot of people right now hurting economically and if they feel like regardless of how they feel about this issue, if they feel like the administration is not focused on jobs and the economy, i think it's going to hurt. >> i'm curious right now, are you for this policy of open
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service or not? >> look, i'm a libertarian. i don't really care about that. >> i love the way you patronize your party. any way, thank you, steve mcmahon and todd. right now it's time for "the ed show" with ed schultz. >> good evening, americans. welcome to "the ed show." we're broadcasting live from the free health care clinic in hartford, connect you cut tonight. we'll talk to some of the people on the ground coming up in just a moment. these stories are also hitting the hot buttons tonight. aig. $100 million in bonuses. where's the obama's administration pay czar on this? that's what i want to know. did he convince the
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obstructionist to get off the fence with health care? and senator susan collins can't get over the fact that the alleged christmas day bomber is talking. she says it's dangerous. i've got to tell you what has me fired up here today. this free health care clinic in hartford, connecticut, is, again, an example of what is really happening in america. i have to tell you tonight, folks, that i am embarrassed to be sitting here in an $1800 suit with $150 tie and a starched shirt. i just walked across the hall in front of americans who would give anything to have $1800 in their pocket. and i guess sometimes, as you see it

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